Saturday, 24 September 2011

Risen - A belated review

Earlier on this year, just before Easter in fact, Sovereign Grace Music released their latest offering into the ever-growing world of praise and worship music.
I own quite a few of their albums and I have to say that this is one of the best. Themed around the resurrection of Jesus and the theological and practical implications of that in the Christian life, the album beautifully combines contemporary music and excellent lyrics.
There is a real mixture of upbeat songs of celebration and slower, more reflective tunes. From the opening track, "Alive" which boldly declares that the life of the Christian is wrapped up in the life of their Saviour all the way through to "Hail the Day" with its melodic and majestic feel as the lyrics sweep through the life of Christ and focus in the chorus on His sitting on the throne in heaven, the album really warms the heart and informs the mind.
I'm not going to cover ever song on the album, as I'm not a music critic. But I will pull out a few of my favourites.
"To live is Christ" is taken from Philippians 1v21, and expounds some of the applications of that verse; not grieving the way the world does for love ones who belong to Jesus because they are with Him and it is gain, as well as the reminder for those of us here that we have a wonderful privilege of living for Jesus now before we go to be with Him.
"You are our Hope" was one of the first songs I heard from the album. Bob Kauflin taught it to a few thousand of us at New Word Alive. It's a very rousing track, good for congregational singing and once again focussed on the fact the Jesus' resurrection is our only hope. If He didn't rise, there is no hope, but because He did, he is the overcoming King.
"Jesus Lives" is my overall favourite track. I have taught it at my home church. In fact, anyone who spent time with me after Easter and over the summer will probably have heard me singing it. So much so that the students on the summer team mission trip to Montenegro this year were all singing the chorus as we went around places because I had been singing it and playing it a lot! "Jesus lives and so shall I, I'll be raised from the dust with Christ on high, Jesus lives no more to die and when He returns with Him I'll rise, Jesus lives." Simple but profound!
I will get told off by my wife for saying this, but, "We will rise" is a song I would love someone to sing as a solo at my funeral. It's a beautiful song, that's the only way I can describe it. It wonderfully speaks of how our bodies die, but our souls await the returning King Jesus when we will get a new, more wonderful resurrection body. "Thought outwardly we waste away, within we are renewed" is another wonderful lyric, taking on exactly what 2 Cor 4v17 says.

The other tracks not mentioned here; "O what a Day", "You have been Raised", "We have been Healed", "Your Name alone can Save", "He has Risen", "Name above all Names", "Behold our God" are all very good too. Name above all names is apparently excellent for congregational singing.

In conclusion, Sovereign Grace Music have once again blessed the wider church with a wonderful array of songs to build the body, teach good theology and empower personal reflection. Keep up the good work guys. I look forward to the next album!

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